Housing Drive, Pepys Series
First Published: circa 1946, Pepys Series Games, North Wallace Street, Glasgow & Bow Street London
Illustrator or Designer: Not Credited
Contents: 6 Playing Boards, 80 Houses, 100 Coins, 25 each Red, Blue and Green Counters, 2 Dice, 2 packs of 28 identical cards one Blue and one Yellow backed.
Housing Drive - Large Box
Housing Drive - Small Box
Housing Drive - Playing Board
Housing Drive - Licence to Build Cards
Housing Drive - Cards Affecting Power, Material or Power Units
Housing Drive - Special Cards with Penalties or Benefits
Housing Drive - 100 Metal Coins, each representing £100.
Housing Drive - Metal Counters: 25 each Green, Blue and Red.
Housing Drive - Aluminium Dice with special faces.
The two different sized boxes contain exactly the same components and appear to have been issued at the same time. Both boxes use the same pasted label on the lid and so both contain the same error "A fascinating game of skill and fun for 2-8 players", the game was only ever intended for 2-6 players. The rules are clear that no more than 6 players could enjoy a game and only 6 playing boards were issued with any set.
The larger boxed version has a superior playing tray with integrated compartments, brick patterned paper decoration and is made from stouter card. The smaller version has individual compartments in coarse card.
Two sets of rules were issued. The first is a single double sided sheet, the second version is a folded sheet with three pages of rules and one page advertising other Pepys boxed games.
The second version includes new rules for shorter and simplified versions of the game. I have found both sets of rules in large and small boxed games. The first rules have no address or other publication details. The second rules give the Bow Street, London and North Wallace Street, Glasgow addresses. This would suggest that the first rules were issued before Pepys (Castell Brothers) moved to Bow Street from Bridewell Place.
The game's purpose is to develop housing estates by using central government subsidies whilst juggling the required units of Labour, Materials and Power. The game mirrored the wartime government's proposed approach to building much needed temporary and permanent housing at the end of World War II. The Burt Committee had been asked to provide recommendations in 1942 and the wartime coalition government included many of these in the Housing Act (Temporary Accommodation) 1944.
In July 1945 a new Labour Party government was elected and priorities changed. Local Authorities came to dominate the development of new house building and government subsidies for private developers ceased.
It appears that Housing Drive was devised and planned prior to 1945. The game certainly seems to have supported and explained the then government policy.
The game's theme is highly unusual and the number and quality of its components is remarkable. With raw materials being strictly rationed and controlled, most wartime consumer products were produced in poor quality "wartime economy" versions and this continued into the early 1950s. Books were printed on cheap paper and there was a national shortage of cardboard during the war. Immediately after the war scrap paper and cardboard were carefully conserved and recycled often to produce plasterboard for building. Many wartime boxes for all sorts of products bore labels like this one from an Ilford camera film box:
Into this time of severe shortages Housing Drive was released with its plethora of expensive and in demand metal and wooden components, all packaged together in good quality cardboard. The game's abundant use of scarce materials must have been officially sanctioned. Whether Pepys were encouraged, or perhaps even commissioned, to produce it by the Ministry of Reconstruction is not known. Surely the coalition government must in some way have backed the game's release? When the new post-war government changed policy the game was immediately rendered obsolete, the policies it was intended to mirror or promote were never brought into effect.
The game is by far the most lavishly produced Pepys game of any time. The coins and counters that were first used in Housing Drive appear in the later games of Win-A-Lot and Stocks and Shares. I suspect these were recycled by Pepys themselves from a stock of unsold sets of Housing Drive.
Game & Version Details
Housing Drive - Large Box Contents
Housing Drive - Large Box Playing Tray
Housing Drive - Large Box Playing Tray (Side View)
Housing Drive - Small Box Contents
Housing Drive - Individual Compartments from Playing Tray
Housing Drive - Card Back Yellow
Housing Drive - Card Back Blue
Housing Drive - Rules 1 Front
Housing Drive - Rules 2 Front
Housing Drive - Rules 2 Rules Back
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Stop or Go